Monday, April 02, 2012

Speed of Growth

James is now 9 months old. Fully adult. Not quite at full size or full weight...

And he outweighs Christopher already!

The Spring (?) Cup

Christopher played a weekend tournament on both Saturday and Sunday... 7.15 am start on Saturday, 8.30 on Sunday. Why was it we signed him up for football again?

And then when we woke up on Saturday, it was to find that the spring-like weather we had enjoyed for the past few weeks had gone, leaving a coating of snow on the ground and more in the air. But the kids played anyway, and we spectators bundled up for the game. Two wins and a loss on Saturday, but they won their group of four... so on to the final
s on Sunday.

Sunday morning was early, but they won the first match... then the second... then the third... and then prepared for the final. Christopher and Gustav "warmed up" for the final by helping the B-team play a half in their own tournament at a nearby field, so a quick dash there, 4 goals, then a quick dash back to the start of the final.

A couple of points to note...
  • Both teams in the final were 2003 teams, playing against 2002 boys in a 2002 "easy" tournament. (Christopher's team did have help from 3 2002 boys which really boosted confidence and lifted the level of play.)

  • The opponents in the final were Bromma Pojkarna's second best 2003 team (out of 28!)
  • Christopher's team meets BP03-2 often - in last week's tournament they lost to them 0-1, and the week before it was 0-6... Christopher has played against them so often that he knows most of their names.
  • And the end result was a clear win 6-0 for IFK Stocksund - and some very happy boys.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Dreaded Fourth Place

Annika, Christopher and I headed to Crans-Montana for a quick weekend - the kids signed up for the ski race, the Trophée du Mont Lachaux. It was a fun race, full of first-timers, but a real tuck-from-the-top downhill/Super G speed race. They had different categories - teams, parent-child, couples, and individual. I was originally signed up for the parent-child category with Annika, but was delighted when she let me off the hook to do an individual race instead.

Christopher was pretty confused by the whole ski racing thing. Before his start, he kept asking, "So I go by myself? Just me?" even though we explained it to him a thousand times. I think he imagined some kind of a running race, with all the kids starting in one big group, elbowing each other out of the way as they tried to take the lead. And it was a bit like that for the teams... but not for the individuals.

So the results? Annika won her class both days... but on Saturday, she was the only one in her class, and on Sunday she was one of two. She isn't so excited for me to share this information, but I think it takes guts to be the only one - so a win all around.

Christopher was 9th of 11 the first day, but once he figured it out, he finished.... 4th on the second day. Could it be worse? Fourth again? According to Christopher, 4th is the worst of all possible places, since you don't get anything, no medal, no recognition, nothing. But he quickly got over it and started planning for how he will come in better than 4th on the next running race.

And the overall race? "Why do they call it the Trophée if you don't get a trophy?" Christopher wanted to know. So now we have to find a race or a competition that actually gives out trophies.

Too Many Video Games?

So I say to Christopher...
"How far along are you in your book?"
"Level 9" he replies.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Famous Underwear Guy

I never see anyone famous. If I bumped into them on the street, I wouldn't notice. In Sweden, I don't even know who the famous people are... and now that I have lived here so long, I don't even know who I should know in the US.

So I turn up for my Tuesday ladies tennis day, as usual. "Did you see?" someone asked. "What?" I reply. "Over there!" I look and nothing looks unusual - three courts of guys playing singles, just like every other Tuesday. "Björn Borg", she says, "playing with his son." So I look more closely. The two bald guys next to us? Nope... The next two bald guys? Doesn't seem right... And then the two guys with hair, one in a fluroescent yellow shirt (and if he didn't want to be noticed, he might have chosen white...). Yep, it was Björn Borg, long-ish hair and all.

I think I might have noticed if I had watched some of the serves. Unbelievable. I can't even imagine how one would receive such a serve. With me, it would surely involve bruising.

So I posted my status on Facebook, and told Annika, who was very impressed. "Cool - he makes underwear, doesn't he?" So I explained that now, his name is on a whole line of underwear, but a while back, he was a very famous tennis player, one of the best in the world, if not the best. "Really? Never heard of him."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can't Win for Losing

For our Christmas holidays, David likes to make sure that the family doesn't sit idle... and I agree, though I must admit that I am much more willing to spend long days reading by the pool than he is. But activity is good, and it gets us out and moving. This year, we booked sailing lessons and tennis lessons for the kids.

Sailing - Annika pitched a fit about the sailing lessons, claiming that she hated it, and would never again get on a small boat, after a cold-water experience in Sweden several years ago. After much bribery and cajoling, we convinced her to do the lessons, which she reluctantly admitted that she enjoyed.

Tennis - more drama - but she did do the one lesson we booked for her. And refused any more bookings.

Snorkeling - "I'm not going in the water." she stated. And left her mask and snorkel in the room, deliberately. We get to the snorkeling site... "Mamma, I want to use your mask and snorkel, not the ones in the boat." So who gets the boat issue? And who gets the really nice one I bought last year? Yeah... well... at least she got in the water.

So we threw our hands up in the air. Fine. Sit by the pool. Watch Nickelodeon or Disney. Play iPad. Text your friends.

One day later, Christopher is headed off for a tennis lesson. "Could you book one for me?" Annika asks, "I want to do something."

Lesson for next year? Book nothing the first four days. Then when she is bored of doing what she wants (nothing), she will be ready for other activities. We'll keep you posted...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Last Puppy

We finally decided that we wanted to get a family dog... and then we had to decide what KIND of dog. Annika and I poured over books and pictures and internet surveys, trying to decide. At first, I was partial to a pound puppy, but apparently they don't exist in Sweden (the few that are available are imported from Ireland). When I saw the puppy prices at breeders, I began to understand why - most are around $2000! Almost all breeders offer a buy-back clause, so that probably helps as well. Anyway, after much discussion, we finally decided that a brown lab would be best for us.

Timing was tight - we wanted to get a puppy at the end of the summer so that we would still be able to travel at Christmas without feeling guilty at missing some of the puppyhood. So I started looking at the kennel club website and the labrador club website... but there were just no puppies available. 39 litters born over the summer and not one puppy left.

Finally, I found two - a male that was a 10 hour drive away, and another male that was only 2 1/2 hours away... so we went for Teamvik's Dean, born on the 18th of June, close to Örebro, to mamma Alva. He had three brothers and a sister - Dallas, Dixon, Dylan and Doris.

Going back to the puppy books, all of them discussed what to look for in a puppy - the one that comes to you, the one that hangs back, the results of the puppy aptitude tests - but none of them discussed what to do if you didn't get a choice - if your puppy was the last one left.

So back to the e-mail again... and the breeder mentioned that Dean was the puppy we would get... but he was listed as "sold" on the kennel club website. Then while at the breeder's, well into the new puppy hugging process, the breeder admitted that Dean was actually sold to a couple, who came back after three days, exhausted, and gave him back.

So what kind of a puppy did we get? The last choice? Or the first choice reject?

All I can say is that I am typing this while he is sleeping next to me. I am tired after the first night, but mostly because I'm just not used to night-time potty runs. Puppy Dean was awesome - max 15 minutes of whining the first time he was put in his bed, then 5 minutes, and then none. The kids are extatic, David and I are thrilled, and we are looking forward to an enjoyable puppyhood. Yes, certain details still need to be worked out, but so far we're sure Dean is the puppy for us.

Now we just have to pick a name. The leading contenders right now are:
  • Bruno (which three of us like, but not the other two)
  • Mr. Ed (David's suggestion... but he once had a hamster named "Mamma hamster" so I'm not sure we should take his advice)
  • Pelle (Christopher's favorite, mostly because it is not Bruno)
  • James (as in James Dean, to go with his current kennel name)
  • Jimmy (as in Jimmy Dean...)
Just looking at him, I think the biggest challenge will be keeping him out of the Puppy Chow!